This is meant to be a parody of the "Men who Build America". Take it as you will.
We have looked at the Magic, and Lewd, and everything in between. But no one has ever talked about another side. The side that no one acknowledges. The side of innovation. The side of entrepreneurs. The side of the investors that propelled the world forward.
We start our story in the time of before the war of Lescatie, nor the current DL was even DL yet. A young man by the name of Cornilus Vanderbilt, a poor man who grew up like most people. In his twenties, he grew a local reputation for getting what he wanted, fighting out in 1v1 brawls with humans and creatures alike. It is in one of these fights he wins his first boat, taking the keys and ores off the unconscious human as he stumbled onto the boat and rode away back to the local port, his nose bleeding blood from both nostrils and his shirt in tatters. He starts his own fishing company with the boat, gaining business knowledge as his company grew. However, he soon learned that he could do more. He started investing and buying, slowly but surely growing his boating empire on the eastern region's coast. In the span of 30 years, he creates the largest maritime empire of his era. Then right before a new Demon Lord rises, he does the unthinkable.
Trains were starting to be invented and created, and soon, track is started to be layed down, the massive project spanning what will be known as Zipangu and the Order territories. Vanderbilt sees the potential in this, and the possibility to build his wealth farther than he could have done with ships. He sells all of his ships and puts everything into the new train business. It pays off big time for him, as by the end of the Lescatie takeover, Vanderbilt(now nicknamed the Commodore) becomes the richest man in the world, owning the present equivalent of 75 billion in our society. Unfortunately, the conflict took something from him that all the money he has couldn't bring back.
Zipangu Town Bar, 6 months after the war
"What will it be today Vanderbilt?" The bartender asked him. "You know what I like," he responded, feeling lower than he had felt in his entire life. The bartender nodded and poured him a glass, then went to another customer, as the Oni wife who made it came out. "What's wrong sugar? You have been seeming glummer every day ever since the...incident."
"Nothing noteworthy. Just some stuff." With that, he hurriedly downed his drink then put his payment down on the table and left the bar. What he had lost was noteworthy, as his oldest son, George has been captured and taken away by a mamono in the conflict. He had been hoping that after George came back, he could teach him how to run his empire, or make one for his own. Without him, Cornilus turns to his younger and less driven son Will.
Will walks into his office as his Father picked up a case of papers and gave it to him while walking out. "I am making you the director of the Zipangu Mountain line," he said saying nothing more as he walked out. In a matter of a day, Will is soon put into a negotiation with some High-ranking mamono, who owned a rival Railroad aiming to take their train to Dragonia.
"If you give us your cargo and goods to transport, we will allow your passengers onto our trains through the mountains...for 150 thousand," Will stated, the Demon being the first to speak, putting her feet on the table and folding her hands to establish dominance. "That allowance isn't worth 150 thousand," she said. He sat up straighter and glared. "95 thousand. I believe that that is a fair trade."
"It isn't worth 95 thousand, nor is it worth 1. However, I think I have my own offer," she said, taking out her lip gloss.
"My father wants the deal he believes is right, not some lewd nonsense."
"The problem is, your father is old. He can't know what's right anymore," the lamia beside her spoke up. "It would be better to just let him rest, that old coot." They both chuckled at the joke, Will looking at the two of them. He then stood up, straightening his tie. "We are done here. Negotiations will be continued later, you lewd creatures." With that, he left and reported back to his father about the deal in his office.
"So they want a war hmm?" He said, slowly turning to face Will, who nodded in response. He simply thought in silence, twirling his drink in a way that still made Will on the inside fear his tenacity. The Commodore then took out a map of the train lines, pointing to one where the rival railroad switches to enter into onto his, and to get to Lescatie. "They want a war? I'll give them a war," he said under his breath. Then he turned his attention to Will. "Shut down the central market line and the forest line. We are going to make them lose everything they got."
Zipangu Cental Market
While it doesn't make sense at first, the Market and Forest lines were the only two that existed so far that went to the Marketplace, allowing millions of goods to be shipped in and out of Zipangu to other places and vice versa, in an eighth of the time it can be done on foot. While some mamono could teleport and are extremely fast, the massive quantity of train lines outdoes other methods by factors of over 10. Without access to the Central or Forest lines, they can't get in to directly transport incoming goods. Furthermore, they can't ship anything out on the train lines regardless. The train transportation begins to stop, and prices begin to rise as outside goods suddenly became rarer. In the end, the competitors that once mocked him and many others started to lose their money, and their companies start losing their worth.
Before it is worthless, however, mamono and human alike all try to sell ownership or other buildings to its name, triggering a massive selloff at multiple company trade markets. Word of this reaches Vanderbilt, through his son while he is playing a game of cards with his peers.
"Buy everything of the rival railroad you can, then some." Was all he said to Will, as he nodded then left to go buy. He instructed his people to mainly go for the Rival Railroad's rock bottle prices, making it cheap to buy. By the time the sellout was all over, Vanderbilt had created the largest single Rail company in the world. And he now, he wants everyone to know it.
He and Will meet up with other major railroad owners from around the world, including the Queen of Hearts herself. Once everyone was seated at the round table, Will began to talk. "We think of a location. One to link up and bring together the major railroads, including the Wonderland trail, and the underwater rails." The Commodore started to look at the Queen of Hearts as Will spoke, her looking right back. They both ended up glaring at each other for a while as if to establish power. Everyone started to notice, then Will clear his throat to get both of there attention back on him. He sighed and continued on.
"It shall be located here in Royal Makai and be called the Grand Central Depot." Then finished and put his paper down. "And exactly why here, of all places?" the Queen spoke up. "Why not place it in the Order territories that are more Central-bound?"
"You know exactly why, my queen. Now, who in favor?" Cornilus spoke up as one by one, everyone said aye. Now that the owners were on board, work began on a station on the outside of the kingdom. Soon, rail tracks began coming in from miles out, Converging with one another as 5 trails finally went in through the depot and connected with everything. In that span of the year, the GCD would be built, becoming seen as the symbol of railroads, and Vanderbilt's wealth and fortune. However, his power will soon be undermined, by two average but brilliant people of their time.
The Dragonian line
Dragonia is growing fast, it's rail lines improving more and more as people travel there and back, carrying more goods each and every day on the Dragonian of the mountain line. To Vanderbilt, he must take complete control of the Zipangu/Dragonian line to complete his empire. He demands his scouts to start buying their stock, wanting control in a matter of seven days. However, an even smarter couple sees his advancement and comes up with an idea ingenuous at the time.
Jay Fisk and Julia Gold were a human-mamono couple. Julia was an automaton and loved to work alongside Jay managing the companies worth via this new thing called stock. After the debacle over the rival railroads, stock was created to easily manage better and track ownership. This was Jay's job, being in middle management and managing stock. He grew resented over the Commodore's rags-to-riches story, and when he saw that he was coming for Dragonia, he got an idea. The couple discussed this over their dinner at a local restaurant.
"Are you comfortable Dear?" Jay said to his loving wife as they sat down at a wall table, where the seats were best. "Yes, I am my loving husband. Now, shall kiss first, or plan?"
"I prefer to save the best part for later."
"Oh you dashing devil," she giggled as she took out her copy of the charter and opened it to a bookmarked page. "Now, your company's charter says that it can release new amounts of this 'stock' without telling anyone. Why did you want me to find this out again?"
"Because that is my plan," he said, ordering two glasses of wine for them. In a short while, the glasses and wine bottle were placed in front of them. He poured the wine and then raised his glass. "To our future. Our rich, defined future!" They both drank, then kissed as they continued to work out the entire plan.
The next day, they built a printing press in an unused part of the management building that no one will go in. Together, they printed out hundreds and thousands of stock paper, using them to dilute the percentage of stock Vanderbilt had on the company. Not knowing what was going on, he continued buying, giving more and more to the couple that had tricked him. Those stacks of fresh stock were then delivered to Vanderbilt.
"You newest set of stock sir," the Kikimora maid said, gently placing the stack of paper down and going to prepare his afternoon tea. Cornilus patted her before she left then looked over the stock, wondering why he had not gotten company control yet. Then he noticed a difference between his first set of stock and the new one. Holding it up to the sunlight, he saw that the green was more noticeable and different signatures on the bottom. He had bought tampered-with stock. Frantic, he started looking through the stack, only seeing the new version of the stock he invested so much on. He had been had.
Through watering down stock, the small-salary couple made over 100 billion dollars in today's currency off the Commodore himself. Happy with cunning glee, they then proceeded to buy themselves a new house in the Dragonian lakeside, then started celebrating and sharing with their co-workers at a party venue for the high class.
"We have just pulled off, the caper of all capers!" Fisk exclaimed as the party applauded and cheered, toasting and drinking. "A toast to us, my wife, and to all the little ones, working hard to make a living. We say, that it is possible to beat the unbeatable!"
Back at Vanderbilt's household, his anger boils over, picking up the pile of stock and throwing it out his office doors, the papers falling down in a snowfall of stock. The kikimora bringing the tea jumped at the site, immediately turning around and going the other way spooked. "Probably best not to disturb him now..."
The Beginning of Rockefeller(Prelude)
The Commodore may have been beaten, but he definitely was still on top. And he wasn't going down over watered stock. Knowing that the wave of trains is started to wane, he starts looking towards new cargo to ship. He turns to the Oli industry, a new product was first found on accident when a Wurm was going through the forest then dived down, accidentally hitting an oil deposit. He knows that its use for lighting up the night alone can propel it mainstream. He also knows that the oil companies need a way to transport their goods faster to the masses. He just needs to find a place to start his plan.
He settles on an oil refinery in the mist continent, the owner going by the name of John Rockefeller. A small businessman, his Wyvern wife makes the majority of the money between them. Seeing an opportunity, he calls Rockefeller to his household for a conference. To Rockefeller, this was a breakthrough that could get him out of his low self-wage. He packs his things and sends them to the train, then gets himself ready and kisses his wife one last time before embarking on his journey. Unfortunately...
"What happened? I thought you were ready to take me!" He exclaimed as the Unicorn called him over the telephone from her home. "I c-came down with s-something...I'm sorry but I cough cough Won't be able to take you today to the train."
"But...ok fine! Just get better ok!?" He put the house phone down and ran out the door, taking off his movement-limiting vest and started sprinting for the train, he ran down the path, determined to make it to the train. As he could see the train in his sights, he saw the steam because to shoot up as the wheels started moving. Not stopping even a little, he simply ran past the Ticketmaster, his ticket on the counter in front of him. He ran onto the platform to go to the door, but was too late the train's caboose fully left the front of the platform, and then the station.
A day later, he read the newspaper while sulking around the house, but then saw something that widened his eyes. The train that he so narrowly missed, feel off a bridge crossing, taking it's passengers to its certain death. His wife passes by and rests her chest on his head to read what has him so shook since a day ago.
"Well, at least you are still here, my sweet Johnny...Johnny? Are you listening?" The wyvern tried poking him, but he wasn't. He suddenly had a change of heart. The gods of the mist had kept him alive. The Gods of the mist want him alive. His choices and determination are fated to succeed, and now he believes it.
"You are still going for him? But what if you really die this time?" His wife asked, concerned and scared about his tenacious look on his face. He turned around and nodded. He wasn't the character of a businessman not thriving. He now saw himself as a self-made mortal on a mission to achieve what fate wants him too, and he swore by God, he was going to do it.
He repeated this in his mind on the next train, and on the coach after the train to Vanderbilt's mansion. As he sat down in the room with the Commodore himself and William started closing the office doors, he sat up straight, as if ready for anything.
"Wine?" Cornilus offered, motioning to the two glasses on the small table between them.
"I don't drink," John confidently replied. The kikimora waiting in the back nodded, only poured for Vanderbilt, then exited. Cornilus then took out his deck of cards.
"You know, you can learn a lot about your opponent if you play."
"I already know all I need too."
With that, the doors finally closed, and negotiations began.